Dadland: A Journey into Uncharted Territory

Author(s): Keggie Carew

Biography & Memoir

Winner of the Costa Biography Award. Keggie Carew grew up under the spell of an unorthodox, enigmatic father. An undercover guerrilla agent during the Second World War, in peacetime he lived on his wits and dazzling charm. But these were not always enough to sustain a family. As his memory began to fail, Keggie embarked on a quest to unravel his story once and for all. Dadland is that journey. It takes us into shadowy corners of history, a madcap English childhood, the poignant breakdown of a family, the corridors of dementia and beyond. "OH THIS BOOK. Beautiful and fierce and brave. Memory and war and family and loss and, well, wow." (Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk).


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Winner of Costa Biography Award 2017.

"As Dad was losing his past... I was trying to retrieve it," Keggie writes... With the publication of this original, moving book, she has succeeded" -- Paul Laity Guardian (Review) "Compelling and moving from start to finish... Carew's funny, fascinating and unflinching tribute to her father is a portrait of a complex man: not just a war hero but a flawed husband; not just a Jedburgh but her incorrigible and much-missed dad" -- Melissa Harrison Financial Times "A fascinating mix of military history and family memoir studded with photographs... It's one woman's attempt to put her father's role in history on the page, at the same time as his own recollections of it diminish" -- Cathy Rentzenbrink The Times (Saturday Review) "A beautifully written, funny and tender ode to an adventurous, occasionally frustrating, man who lived life at full tilt" Good Housekeeping "It's now commonplace to say that sad memoirs are ultimately redemptive, but Dadland is the real McCoy. It is a rich and stunning achievement, a feat of imagination that sews together many parallel true stories. Above all, it is a labour of shining daughterly love" -- Caroline Sanderson Sunday Express (S Magazine) "I was so absorbed and moved by Dadland I haven't been able to read anything else. It is beautifully written -- deft and funny and so tender -- but I have also come away knowing more about history, more about dementia, more about men, more about daughters, more about love, family, sheds, diaries, an inquisitive mind and peeing in plastic bottles. I loved it. I really did." -- Rachel Joyce "Powerful memoir... The clouding of Tom's mind never eclipsed his charm ... Dadland is no tragedy, threaded as it is with forgiveness, love and a fine, fierce comic glitter" -- Jane Shilling Telegraph "A poignant, inspiring and often comic account of family life and the man known as the T E Lawrence of Burma ... Ripping real-life yarns of double agents, secret messages, illicit assassinations and cyanide pills... the heroics and humour persist to the end" -- Richard Benson Mail on Sunday "Keggie turns spy on her father. She is on a "ghost hunt"... What she uncovers is an extraordinary gift for any memoirist... fascinating" -- Helen Davies The Sunday Times "How lovely to discover a book that makes one seize friends by the lapels and implore them, "Read this"... wonderful" -- Valerie Grove Literary Review "Gripping, heartfelt, moving and quite unlike anything Esquire has had the pleasure of reading this year... outstandingly good" Esquire "Dadland [had me] gripped from beginning to end." -- Philippe Sands Financial Times, Book of the Year "Dadland [had me] gripped from beginning to end." -- Philippe Sands Financial Times, Book of the Year "Extraordinary, brutally honest... One of the great pleasures of the book is the quality of the writing" -- Ginny Dougary Daily Mail

Keggie Carew has lived in London, West Cork, Barcelona, Texas and New Zealand. Before writing, her career was in contemporary art. She lives near Salisbury. Tom Carew was born in Dublin in 1919. He served in the Jedburgh unit of the Special Operations Executive in the Second World War. The Times of India called him 'Lawrence of Burma' and 'the Mad Irishman'. He married three times, and had four children. He died in 2009.

General Fields

  • : 9781784703158
  • : Penguin Random House
  • : Vintage
  • : January 2017
  • : United Kingdom
  • : February 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Keggie Carew
  • : Paperback
  • : en
  • : 941.085092
  • : 432